India has viewed equity in higher education as a foundation for inclusive growth. As a result of strong affirmative action policies such as the reservation of seats in higher education institutions, relaxation of admission criteria and financial support, access to higher education has improved for the students from disadvantaged social backgrounds over the years. However, after entering these institutions, equal and non-discriminatory access to opportunities remains limited. The findings from a large-scale, multi-institutional, mixed-method study show that higher education institutions are largely under-prepared to respond to diverse learners.
Equity in access to higher education is widely considered in the literature to promote inclusive growth, reduce intergroup economic inequalities and foster conditions for sustainable development (UNESCO 2016). Given the earning advantages associated with higher education as compared to the less educated, gaining higher education can lead to better employment, wealth and well being outcomes. India recognised the important role that education played in economic and social well-being of the people and clearly laid down the role of higher education in national development.
With a gross enrolment ratio (GER) of 25.2 per cent and around 35.7 million students (MHRD 2017), India is in a ‘stage of massification’ with the second largest higher education system in the world. On the one hand, rising social demand, increasing school participation rates and expanding supply conditions have led to the expansion of the higher education system in India. On the other, affirmative action policies in the form of reservation of seats, relaxation of admission criteria and financial support have resulted in providing access to the marginalised groups and promoting social diversity in the student body.
The participation of students from the disadvantaged socio-economic groups, such as, the scheduled castes (former untouchables in the caste hierarchy), other backward classes (other lower castes), the scheduled tribes and women, which were previously under-represented in higher education, has improved. For example, over a period of 20 years, the gross enrolment ratio for the scheduled castes (SCs) group improved from 4.8 in 1995 to 22.3 per cent in 2014. Similarly, for the scheduled tribes (STs), the gross enrolment ratio improved from 3.4 in 1995 to 17 per cent in 2014 (Thorat and Khan 2018). Thus, unlike the elite stage where only the privileged few entered higher education campuses, massification of the sector has widened the opportunities for diverse student groups for entry into higher education campuses.
Based on the empirical evidence from a large-scale study, this paper argues that while access to higher education has improved for the disadvantaged socio-economic groups, equal and non-discriminatory access to opportunities for their academic success after their entry into higher education institutions remains limited (Sabharwal and Malish 2016). The evidence shows that the higher education institutions remain under prepared to respond to diverse learners present on their campuses. And hence, the overall improvement in access to higher education has been overshadowed by new forms of inequalities with higher education serving as an institution of social reproduction of inherited privileges.
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WILD MEAT AND WET MARKETS: A GLOBAL DIALOGUE
Wet markets operate in most Asian countries including India. China reported its wet markets as the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and also more recently in Beijing. These wet markets, a traditional part of popular local culture in Asian countries, are increasingly becoming a cause of concern for the international community and health practitioners across the globe. This article attempts to understand how global authorities and their Asian partners are looking to regulate these infamous wet markets to significantly lower the risk of viral and other pathogenic load from these unhygienic wet markets.
SEA WALL IN THE MALDIVES AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY
The Small Island developing states are particularly vulnerable to the peril of climate change. Sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperature, high incidences of drought and flood are some of the vulnerabilities that loom large over such island states.The republic of Maldives is one such example, which has been publicly advocating for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite being one of the least contributors to such emissions, the Maldives faces the highest impact of global warming. Being one of the lowest-lying island nations, it has been undertaking various steps to curb the egregious impacts of environmental catastrophes.One of the response measures taken by the Maldives is the construction of seawalls. This article discusses this, while accenting the drawbacks and benefits associated with the approach.
TO PLUCK AT WILL: FRUIT TREES IN COMMON PROPERTY
Despite many governmental initiatives, malnutrition in India remains a major health challenge. There is a marked deficit of fruits in the diet of most Indians, consuming much lower than what is recommended by the World health organisation (Who). One of the reasons behind this is the high price of fruits and thus its inequitable access. As we prepare ourselves to live in a world marred by COVID-19 and a shrinking Indian economy, we must think of new ideas to manage access to food, especially micro nutrient rich fruits. This paper explores the possibility of planting endemic fruit trees in public spaces like roadsides and parks, that can help in increasing the consumption of fruits amongst the poor. It also attempts to analyse whether this can serve as a long term solution to bridge the gap between fruit production and consumption in India.
RESPONSIVE URBAN PLANNING: COVID-19 A TURNING POINT FOR REAL CHANGE IN INDIAN CITIES
The global challenge of COVID-19 is still unfurling. States are grappling to control its remorseless spread with varied success and its impact both on long and short-term scales are still being understood. However, a distinct urban bias in its spread across the globe and universal response of lockdown and social distancing for its control has brought pertinent questions to the fore. Urban planning and the future of our cities in terms of urban life and city form therefore needs to be revisited. In India, the exodus of migrant workers from its large cities has added yet another dimension to this challenge.
PAUSE AND REBOOT
REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND POLITY DURING COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND LESSONS FOR INDIA
Migrants & borders: My wishlist in a post-Covid-19 world
Former Professor of Economics and Education, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covid-19: Politics Of Knowledge, Public Health And The World Order
In the present era of a knowledge society, the world order will be shaped more than ever before by the politics of knowledge. In the post-CoVId world, public health knowledge is likely to be a significant contributor. This article briefly discusses the various contemporary public health approaches evident within the discipline: global health, community medicine and critical public health. Then it goes on to analyse country level policy approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, delineating a tentative four-category typology, based on available information. Finally, it sets out the possible outcome indicators that should be used to assess the national responses.
Inequalities in Access to Academic Spaces
Experiences of students from the socially excluded groups in higher education in India
Understanding Caste and Class - Categories and Measurement
The caste has been a unique social institution in India. It has also emerged in a new form after the mandalisation of caste in the early 1990s resulting in the extension of reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and also in admissions to colleges and universities. The relative size of population of various caste groups particularly of the OBCs is also a matter of debate. Census does not provide population data on OBCs, however, it is possible to assess it from nationally representative sample surveys. Further, the correspondence between caste categories and class has been a matter of debate. This paper presents an assessment of class within caste categories based on data from nationally representative sample surveys.
The Middle Class - As the Class of No Class
An attempt to understand some of the ambiguities around what it means to be middle class in India has been made in this paper. It also discusses the influence that the middle class supposedly has on Indian politics despite these uncertainties.
Reincarnation And Realpolitik
China, India, and the U.S. are vying to influence the selection of the next Dalai Lama
An Exclusive Interview With Nandakumar Narasimhan
The Little Red Train
A Room for Dad
Before Mom passed, I made a promise to her
THE DANGAL IN THE JUNGLE, PART 1
YOU KNOW YOU’RE SOMEBODY WHEN YOU’VE APPEARED ON AN INDIAN DANGAL POSTER — IN OTHER WORDS, IN A WRESTLING ADVERTISEMENT.
WOUNDS AND THE WOMB
JULIE PETERS explores how to heal a relationship with the sacred womb, a place of death, life, and possibilities.
Giant squirrels, giant lessons? Animal chaplain SARAH BOWEN explores what squirrels can show us about mindfulness.
E8 Caste and the Indian Tech Ivies
IIT grads are highly sought after in Silicon Valley. Are they bringing deep-rooted prejudices with them?
I was happily married, happily employed, just plain happy. Until the accident
IN SEASON Chickpeas (GARBANZO BEANS)
Chickpeas appear in early recordings in Turkey well over 5000 years ago. India produces the most chickpeas worldwide but they are grown in more than 50 countries. An excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, and some minerals, they are a nutritious staple of many diets. The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cancer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts are other familiar foods found in this legume family.
When the Signal Goes Out
Government-ordered internet shutdowns are becoming more frequent